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Alian, Osama

Department of Microbiology & Molecular Genetics
144 Natural Science
Michigan State University
East Lansing, MI 48824
(517) 884-7947



Osama Alian is a third-year PhD student with Dr. Matt Schrenk. Osama’s research interests are centered around astrobiology, focused on understanding life in the deep biosphere and how it can inform the search for life in places such as Mars, Europa, Enceladus and designing the processes to sample and study those environments. His dissertation research focuses on studying the extreme-living microbial communities of the Lost City hydrothermal vents deep in the Atlantic Ocean and their dependence on sulfur-cycle intermediates and redox gradients for generating the energy they need to survive. Osama graduated from Wayne State University in Detroit with degrees in art history and biological sciences and has worked in diverse fields ranging from engineering to cardiovascular physiology, in addition to education, aviation and the arts.


1. Danielle J. Whittaker, Samuel P. Slowinski, Jonathan M. Greenberg, Osama M. Alian, Andrew D. Winters, Madison M. Ahmad, Mikayla J. E. Burrell, Helena A. Soini, Milos V. Novotny, Ellen D. Ketterson, Kevin R. Theis, “Experimental Evidence that Symbiotic Bacteria Produce Chemical Cues in a Songbird”, Journal of Experimental Biology (2019)
2. Osama M. Alian, Ramzi M. Mohammad, Asfar S. Azmi. “Systems Biology Approaches to Pancreatic Cancer Detection, Prevention and Treatment” Current Pharmaceutical Design (2014)
3. Osama M. Alian, Asfar Azmi, and Ramzi M. Mohammad, “Network Insights on Oxaliplatin Anti-Cancer Mechanisms”, Clinical and Translational Medicine, (2012
1. Osama M. Alian, Matthew Schrenk “Modeling Habitability at the Rock-Water Interface”, Astrobiology Graduate Conference, Poster Presentation (2019)
2. Osama M. Alian, Dylan Mankel, Miranda Pryde, Matthew Schrenk, “Simulating Redox Gradients in an Early Earth Analog: Microenvironmental Implications for Microbial Habitability”, Astrobiology Science Conference, Poster Presentation (2019)
3. Osama M. Alian, Hager Alkhafaji, Hannah Fine, Adrian Vasquez, Banani Sen, Jeffrey Ram, “Automatic Measurement of Enzymatic Activity for Monitoring Live Organisms in Ballast Water”, International Association of Great Lakes Research (IAGLR) Conference, Oral Presentation (2016)